5 Real Action Movies That Have The Craziest Plots Ever
Coming up with a good action movie premise is harder than it looks. Just about every gimmick has already been tried, so you really need to be creative and smart to stand out from the crowd. Or you could go to Wikipedia, hit "Random article," and base an entire movie around whatever pops up. Because thinking is hard and cocaine is easy, we have many examples of this. Look at ...
Mr. No Legs Has No Legs, Two Shotguns
Ted Vollrath was a Korean War veteran who had his lower appendages blown to smithereens in combat, yet still became a martial artist. And in this movie he plays Mr. No Legs. And if you think having a martial artist who has nothing below the thighs means you're in for a subpar fight sequence, you'd be ... well, you'd be right, yet somehow you'd also be wrong.
It's only polite that most of his foes stand within punching distance instead of strolling behind him and pushing his wheelchair into the pool, although he does have wheelchair-mounted shurikens to discourage that. Oh, and he also has two built-in shotguns. So the shurikens get overshadowed pretty quickly.
Sadly, Vollrath is only in the movie for a grand total of ten minutes, while the rest is standard crappy '70s grindhouse fare. But it's hard to argue that this isn't a property due for a remake.
Ring Of Steel Shows Us The Gritty World Of Underground Fencing
There are so many movies about secretive underground fighting tournaments wherein the wealthy gamble on greasy men kicking each other in the face that the only way to tell them apart is by the degree of racial stereotypes. This plot was an absolute staple of cheesy '80s action movies, but in 1994, instead of accepting that Bloodsport had perfected the genre and moving on to make movies about killer asteroids, one brave soul tried again. They made Ring Of Steel. It did not revitalize the genre.
Slow motion, black and white, and not a word of dialogue. Your move, film school.
Our hero is Alex, a fencer well on his way to becoming the best in the world when, in a freak accident, he kills an opponent. He's then blackballed by the fencing community, because this movie is set in an alternate reality in which young athletes face serious consequences for their actions. Worse yet, Alex gets mugged later that night. Luckily, he's saved by a mysterious stranger who scares the knife-wielding muggers away with a sword.
The obvious villain asks Alex to join an underground fight club, which for some reason has its own business card.
One gratuitous sex scene with his girlfriend later, and Alex wins his first fight. But after witnessing the brutal beatdown of a fat LARPer who was inexplicably invited to a training session, Alex decides that the Ring of Steel is too violent and wants to back out.
The underground fencing ring responds by kidnapping Alex's girlfriend and forcing him to fight to save her. Rather than simply call the police, he agrees to face all sorts of fighting styles, from classically trained fencers to ninjas to bad Conan knockoffs. They're all seemingly forced to dress as their fighting styles dictate, because the rich want a little WWE flair to go with their blood sport.
None of this fighting really matters, though, because the girlfriend saves herself with a call to 911 ... and a sword. Because in Ring Of Steel, the answer is always "something ... but also sword."
From there, Alex kills the most explicitly evil fighter, the owner vanishes with a vow to reform his empire, somehow the whole place catches on fire to force a dramatic escape, and the cops arrive to bust up the operation. They bring guns with them, proving that most of Alex's sword fighter problems could have been solved with a quick stop at a pawn shop.
Burning Bright Is A Serious, Elaborate Drama About Being Trapped In A House With A Tiger
Burning Bright is about a woman locked in a house with a tiger. On paper, that sounds just dumb enough to work. But the movie takes itself as seriously as its "Here's an 18th-century poetry reference I remember from college" title implies. And the problem with pitching "a woman is trapped in a suburban home with a tiger" as a straightfaced dramatic thriller is, well, how does that work? How did the tiger get there? Why can't the woman just leave? Why can't she hide? Why can't she phone for help? All of these questions, and many more, will be answered by the most pointlessly convoluted script ever written.
First we have John. His wife is dead, making her the movie's luckiest character. John wants a life insurance payout from his stepdaughter Kelly and stepson Tom, so he goes and buys himself a tiger from a tiger salesman, played by Meat Loaf. Why yes, it was the most impeccable casting job in the history of film. John says the tiger isn't scary enough, to which Mr. Loaf replies, "This cat is not scary. He's evil." The people making this thought that line was so good that it made the trailer.
Satisfied with that cryptic explanation, John buys the tiger, who is named Lucifer, because we threw subtlety off the back of the truck somewhere around the intersection of Tiger Salesman and Meat Loaf. But how's John going to get Kelly into the same house as the tiger, when she's heading off to college? Why, he empties her bank account, explaining that he needed the money to buy the tiger so he can make a "Safari Ranch." Now she has to defer the semester until she has money. Foolproof, John. Absolutely foolproof.
Alright, so you've got the tiger and the person you're planning to murder with a tiger. But how do you keep your victim trapped and unable to call for help? John's answer is simple: He waits for the town to be hit by a hurricane so that all the doors and windows will be boarded up and all phone service will be down.
We're sure the police and insurance company will have no questions about why John's stepchildren were trapped in a house with his newly acquired tiger during a hurricane. To add to the already incredible drama, little brother Tom is autistic, and Kelly needs her money back so she can pay for Tom to live in a care center while she's off at school. Tom is the reason she can't just hide in a closet; he keeps wandering off and doing everything in his power to put himself in danger, because the screenwriter thinks that being autistic chiefly means "unable to understand tigers."
After spending half an hour setting up Meat Loaf and evil tigers and hurricanes and life insurance scams, the film finally begins, and is mostly a disappointment. John sneaks the tiger into the house, and Burning Bright becomes a generic low-budget thriller. Kelly and Tom survive, and in the most obvious twist ever, John shows up the next day to shoot the tiger dead, only to be eaten by it. Meat Loaf, quite tragically, never got his Tiger Salesman spinoff show.
Playing Dangerous Is Home Alone As A Serious Drama
The success of Home Alone ushered in countless knockoffs about the adventures of precocious blond boys. And in the middle of a vast sea of bland imitators, one director/lunatic was bold enough to stand up and ask, "What if Kevin McCallister had brutally slaughtered the Wet Bandits?" Thus 1995's Playing Dangerous was born.
Also, instead of cartoonish burglars, the bad guy is CLEARLY supposed to be Hans Gruber.
Instead of taking the usual comedic route, Playing Dangerous is a thriller that pits young science genius Stuart Wolfe against five mercenaries. The bad guys have been hired by a computer corporation to steal a blueprint for a powerful new chip, and a copy of said plans are on Stuart's home computer, for reasons far too stupid to get into here. Long story short, the villains kidnap Stuart's family, and to prove that they're serious, they kill some extras. This ain't your granddaddy's Home Alone!
But Stuart is serious too. He uses his tech genius to launch an all-out assault that honestly makes us feel a little bad for the cold-hearted mercenaries. First he eliminates his chaperone by faking a medical emergency and thrusting a rag soaked in various nasty chemicals in his face.
Then he acquires a Super Soaker.
But what good would a Super Soa- oh. Oh.
He fills the water gun with gasoline and douses a bad guy with it right as he's lighting a cigarette, causing him to burst into flames.
Then he dumps water on his carpet to give the baddie trying to hack into his computer a lethal electric shock. We're reasonably sure that's not how computers work, but you could not pay this movie to care.
Remember, all of this death and madness is to stop a corporation from giving their customers the ability to load Frasier erotica on Netscape Navigator 20 percent faster.
And then, once the day is saved, the family enjoys a relaxing afternoon by the pool as if nothing has happened. Because hey, what child doesn't immediately bounce back from ending several lives with suspicious ease?
Hologram Man Has No Idea What Holograms Are
Hologram Man, released in 1995, is set in a grim future in which California has become a corporation called, uh, the California Corporation. That movie maintains that exact level of creativity.
In this terrible but clearly fantastical world where evil tech corporations are running California into the ground, the baddest of bad guys are sentenced to a process called holographic stasis, which makes them lose their bodies and become holograms stuck imprisoned in tiny vials. In other words, they turn into the prize you'd get from a box of Froot Loops in the '90s.
The system works right up until crazed revolutionary terrorist Norman "Slash" Galagher gets his ass hologrammed and his cronies find a way to release him back into the world -- not in his corporeal form, mind you, but as a hologram. A murder hologram! Oh, and walking holograms are unkillable, intangible entities with almost godlike powers, because the screenwriter's research into holograms stopped after looking up "hologram" in a dictionary and reading the first three words.
To stop Galagher, the good guys decide to turn the cop who arrested him, Kurt Decoda, into a hologram as well. It's like Demolition Man, but somehow -- impossibly, beautifully -- even stupider. The good part is that it all totally works. The bad part, for the audience, is that the hero and villain end up looking like the exact same Tron reject.
But what they lack in fashion sense, they make up for with incredible powers, such as being able to throw fireballs ...
... and blowing up cars via ... electric crotch bulge?
Truly the future is a terrible and confounding place. But Decoda eventually manages to hunt down the villain, and they have an argument that looks like a monologue inexplicably shot from two different angles.
Their holo-fistfight isn't any less baffling.
The good holo man kills the bad holo man by re-imprisoning him in the tiny container he was released from, then blowing it up. Future justice!
E. Reid Ross has a couple of books, Nature Is The Worst: 500 Reasons You'll Never Want To Go Outside Again and Canadabis: The Canadian Weed Reader, both available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Write your own crazy action plot with a beginner's guide to Celtx.
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